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-1960

Kiss Kiss

In these dark, disturbing stories Roald Dahl explores the sinister side of human nature: the cunning, sly selfish part of each of us that leads into the territory of the unexpected and unsettling.

Originally published in 1960, Kiss Kiss brings together 11 of Roald's macabre adult tales. William and Mary was later adapted for Roald's American television series 'Way Out and several of the stories appeared in British television adaptations for the series Tales of the Unexpected in the 1980s. Also included here is The Champion of the World - the first time Roald wrote about the man who would go on to become Danny's dad in Danny the Champion of the World.

In 2011, three of the stories in this collection - William and Mary, The Landlady and Mrs Bixby and the Colonel's Coat - were adapted for the theatre by Jeremy Dyson and Andy Nyman, along with two of Roald's other short stories to form the Twisted Tales production, which enjoyed a short run at the Lyric Hammersmith theatre.

The stories featured in Kiss Kiss are: 

  • The Landlady
  • William and Mary
  • The Way up to Heaven
  • Parson's Pleasure
  • Mrs Bixby and the Colonel's Coat
  • Royal Jelly
  • Georgy Porgy
  • Genesis and Catastrophe
  • Edward the Conqueror
  • Pig
  • The Champion of the World

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-1966

The Magic Finger

When the girl in this story gets cross, strange things start happening. Above all, she can't bear it when people are cruel to animals. So when her neighbours the Greggs go shooting, her magic finger teaches them a lesson they'll never forget...

Roald Dahl began work on The Almost Ducks, as The Magic Finger was originally known, in 1962. In the story, an unnamed eight-year-old girl tells the story of her neighbours, the Gregg family. The Greggs like to hunt, but the girl can't stand to see animals killed just for fun. Her sense of injustice makes her angry and through her anger she develops a special power - not dissimilar to Matilda Wormwood, another of Roald's young female protagonists.

The Almost Ducks was part of a project in which a group of adult writers were each asked to create a story about "all the brave deer hunters and duck hunters in the country," as Roald described to his publishers. Roald was very much against animal cruelty and his story reflects this, as the girl turns the tables on the Greggs and their love of hunting.

After Roald had finished his publishers, wary of offending the powerful US gun lobby, sat on the manuscript until their option to publish had expired. It was a further three years before the story - which Roald dedicated to two of his daughters, Ophelia and Lucy - was eventually published by Harper & Row in 1966 as The Magic Finger

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-1988

Matilda

Matilda Wormwood is only five years old, but she is a genius. Unfortunately her parents are too stupid to even notice. Worse, her horrible headmistress Miss Trunchbull is a bully who makes life difficult for Matilda's teacher, Miss Honey, and her friends. But what Miss Trunchbull doesn't know is that Matilda has a trick or two up her sleeve...

Matilda won the Children's Book Award shortly after it was published in 1988, and it has continued to delight audiences ever since. Early drafts of the story were very different to the one we now know. At first, Matilda was a wicked girl who eventually used her powers to help her teacher solve her financial problems - by fixing a horse race. In the end, though, it became the magical story now known to children the world over. 

In 1996 a film version of Matilda was released. Directed by Danny DeVito - who also starred as Mr Wormwood, alongside Mara Wilson as Matilda and Pam Ferris as Miss Trunchbull - the film went on to become a cult classic. 

In 2010, The Royal Shakespeare Company’s production of Matilda The Musical, written by Dennis Kelly and with music and lyrics by Tim Minchin, opened in Stratford-upon-Avon, UK, to great critical acclaim. The production transferred to London's West End a year later, and in spring 2013 the show opened on Broadway.

Matilda was Roald Dahl's last long children's book.

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-1991

The Minpins

When Little Billy sneaks into the Forest of Sin he meets thousands of tiny surprises: the Minpins. His new friends live in miniature houses inside hollow trees. But every one is terrified of a Fearsome Beast - and if Billy wants to go home he must defeat it once and for all!

The Minpins was Roald Dahl's last children's book. Like many of his other stories, it was partially inspired by the countryside around where he lived. The wood at the top of the field behind Roald's house was even known as the Minpin forest. It also has a connection to another of his books - Little Billy's mother tells him that the Forest of Sin is home to creatures including Vermicious Knids, which are the alien-like creatures that also appear in Charlie and the Great Glass Elevator.

The Minpins was published in 1991, not long after Roald's death in November 1990. It was illustrated by Patrick Benson. The last line of the story is one of the most-repeated Roald Dahl quotes...

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-2008

More About Boy

More About Boy is the expanded story of Roald Dahl's childhood. It includes the original text of Boy, plus some amazing extra stories, photos and letters.

In Boy, Roald Dahl told us about some of the most memorable incidents from his childhood. More About Boy contains, as you might guess, even more. There are dozens of additional photographs and letters from Roald's boyhood, plus several autobiographical pieces gathered for the first time, including Roald's reflections on how his upbringing helped him become a writer.

All of Roald's writings - from his childhood letters to early drafts of his famous stories, correspondence with his editors and wonderful artefacts from his childhood and long career - are now housed in the archive at The Roald Dahl Museum and Story Centre in Roald's home town of Great Missenden, Buckinghamshire. 

More About Boy gives us the chance to take a little peek at some of this wonderful material - and to see how hos own childhood helped inspire some of Roald's most marvellous work.

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-1991

My Year

Roald Dahl had an abiding love for and interest in nature. He kept notes about the habbits of butterflies and frogs, the colour and songs of birds, and the different flowers, plants and berries that blossomed in the countryside around his Buckinghamshire home throughout the year.

In the last year of his life he worked on a diary. What was originally intended to be a few lines turned into a memorable account of the passing year. In My Year, Roald takes us on a month-by-month journey mixing up the past and the present: from childhood tales to tips on how to produce a first-class conker, interwoven with observations about the changing seasons.

My Year was first published in 1991 as The Roald Dahl Diary, shortly after Roald's death in November 1990.

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-1971

The Night Digger

Maura Prince's life takes an unexpected turn with the arrival of young handyman Billy Jarvis - but Billy has some dark secrets...

The Night Digger was a film adaptation Joy Cowley's 1967 novel Nest in a Fallen Tree. Roald Dahl acquired the rights to the novel with the idea of adapting it into a film as a vehicle for his wife, the actress Patricia Neal, known to her family as Pat. 

At the time of filming, Pat had only recently recovered from a stroke that she suffered whilst three months pregnant with daughter Lucy. Roald wrote this into the screenplay, making the character of Maura - as played by Pat - a recovering stroke victim.

The film was directed by Alastair Reid. The production was troubled both for Pat and Roald, with the script undergoing many further changes. It was released in 1971 in the US to mediocre reviews. In the UK the film was released as The Road Builder.

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-January 1946

Over to You

Over to You brings together 10 of Roald Dahl's earliest stories, many of them set during the Second World War and drawing on his own experiences as a fighter pilot. It includes his first paid piece of writing, the short story A Piece of Cake, which was originally published in 1942 in American magazine The Saturday Evening Post under the title Shot Down Over Libya

The 10 stories featured are:

  • Death of an Old, Old Man
  • An African Story
  • A Piece of Cake
  • Madame Rosette
  • Katina
  • Yesterday Was Beautiful
  • They Shall Not Grow Old
  • Beware of the Dog
  • Only This
  • Someone Like You

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